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Measures Necessary to be taken within the Context of the Covid-19 Outbreak, in All Businesses Operating Under Office or Workplace System

2020, Erdemir&Özmen Attorney Partnership

Measures Necessary to be taken within the Context of the Covid-19 Outbreak, in All Businesses Operating Under Office or Workplace System

Controlled normalization process has started as part of the measures to prevent the spread of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak included into the scope of “Pandemic” by the World Health Organization.

Within this context, the Ministry of Health has published a “Covid-19 Outbreak Management and Working Guidelines” in relation to the measures necessary to be taken in the controlled normalization process. In order for all the businesses, operating under office or workplace system, perform their activities safely; under the heading “Measures necessary to be taken in all businesses operating under office or workplace system”, the Guidelines prescribe the measures necessary to be taken by the offices and workplaces which are currently active or will become operational.  

The measures mentioned in this newsletter are effective for all the business operating under office or workplace system.

Measures for offices and workplaces

  • The staffs being employed must be informed about COVID-19.
  • In the offices and workplaces, the staff and customer planning must be made in such a way that one person is present in each 4 square meters.
  • In the offices and workplaces, the arrangements must be made in such a way that the staffs maintain the social distancing (minimum 1 meter, 3 or 4 steps) among each other and with the customers.
  • Customers must enter the office or workplace alone. Other accompanying persons must be encouraged to stay out.
  • Guests must not be admitted to the offices and workplaces.
  • Foodstuffs and beverages other than water must not be served to the customers visiting the office or workplace.

Measures for customers

  • Customers must be ensured to read the informative text posted at a visible place of the entrance of the office or workplace and explaining the rules that are expected to be followed inside. This informative text must contain the warning that customers who have symptoms such as fever, cough, nasal discharge, or shortness of breath do not enter the office and workplace.
  • When a customer enters the office or workplace, alcohol-based hand antiseptic or cologne containing at least 70% alcohol must be used.
  • Customers must maintain their social distancing with other customers and the staffs.
  • It must be ensured that customers, with masks on their faces, enter the office or workplace. In offices, workplaces, and in general within the society, it is sufficient to wear cloth masks in compliance with the relevant rules. At the entrance, masks must be made available for those who do not have a mask.
  • In the offices and workplaces, customers should not touch any surfaces unless they have to, and they must use hand antiseptic if they touch a surface therein.
  • If possible, contactless payment should be preferred if a credit card is used for payments.
  • Hand antiseptic must be used, while making payments in cash.
  • It must be ensured that customers stay as short as possible in the office or workplace.

Measures for protection of the staffs

  • It must be ensured that the staffs being employed are informed about the modes of transmission of and the precautions for protection against COVID-19.
  • Staffs, who have symptoms such as fever, cough, nasal discharge, or shortness of breath, must not be employed in the offices and workplaces.
  • If a staff has symptoms, such as fever, cough, nasal discharge, or shortness of breath, while he/she is working in the office or workplace; such staff, with a medical mask on his/her face, must be directed to a health facility.
  • In the offices and workplaces, the working order should be planned in such a way that the minimum number of required staffs is present therein.
  • The staffs must be warned to maintain their social distancing with other staffs and the customers.
  • All the staffs being employed must wear masks in compliance with the relevant rules; the masks must be replaced as they get damp or dirty, and hand antiseptic must be used before and after they are replaced.  
  • The staffs must be warned to wash their hands with soap and water at the starting/ending hours of the work and throughout the day.
  • The staffs being employed must be ensured to pay attention to hand hygiene. To ensure hand hygiene, hands must be washed with water and soap for at least 20 seconds, and alcohol-based hand antiseptics must be be used in the absence of water and soap. It is not necessary to use soap containing antiseptic, it is sufficient to use ordinary soap.   
  • In rest areas, the staffs must maintain a social distancing of at least 1 meter between each other and continue wearing masks. Since the masks will be taken off while eating or while drinking water/tea/coffee, it must be ensured than more than one person is not present at the same time in the indoor area where something is eaten or where water/tea/coffee is drunk.

Ambient cleaning, disinfection and ventilation

  • In the offices and workplaces, cleaning must be performed regularly every day by using water and detergent.
  • In cleaning the offices and workplaces, attention must be paid particularly to the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (such as door handles, telephone handsets, cabinet surfaces, table surfaces, etc.). To that end, 1/100 diluted (half a small tea glass into 5 liters of water) bleach (Sodium hypochlorite Cas No: 7681-52-9) can be used for disinfection after cleaning with water and detergent. Chlorine compounds may form corrosion on the surfaces. It is a disinfectant recommended to be used for durable surfaces. 1/10 diluted bleach (Sodium hypochlorite Cas No: 7681-52-9) must be used for toilet disinfection.
  • Disinfection should be provided by wiping, with 70% alcohol, the computer keyboards, telephone and other device surfaces not suitable for cleaning with chlorine compounds.
  • The cleaning staffs must be ensured to use medical masks and gloves. After cleaning, the staffs must take off their masks and gloves, put them into a litter bin with lid and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Single-use disposable paper towels must be made available in the toilets. Air-driven hand dryers must not be used in the toilets.
  • The doors and windows of the offices and workplaces should be opened frequently and thus, it must be ensured that the offices and workplaces are frequently ventilated.  In the offices and workplaces with central ventilation systems, the ventilation must be arranged so as to ensure fresh air circulation, and the maintenances and filter replacements of the ventilation systems must be performed in line with the manufacturer firm’s recommendations. Free-standing air conditioners and ventilators must not be used.

Conclusion 

As mentioned in detail above, the measures necessary to be taken in all business operating under office or workplace system are stated quite comprehensively by the Ministry of Health. In offices and workplaces, it is of great importance to implement meticulously the above-mentioned matters, for an effective fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. As a matter of fact, in the recent situation, there is no vaccine or drug available to prevent the Covid-19 outbreak.   

Within this framework, the safest way to prevent the spread of the outbreak in offices and workplaces where many people continue working together and collectively is to take all necessary measures that will positively affect the health of staffs and to bring the health and safety measures at offices and workplaces in compliance with the current conditions, by taking into consideration the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health.


Reference:

https://covid19bilgi.saglik.gov.tr/depo/toplumda-salgin-yonetimi/salgin-yonetimi-ve-calisma rehberi/COVID19-SALGIN_YONETIMI_VE_CALISMA_REHBERI.pdf

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